Show Me State Linebacker Shows Up in Red

Nebraska has been stacking the deck as they might say, when it comes to filling up this year's recruiting class with linebackers. They need to as they are losing four starting linebackers after this year. Well, prior to today they already had four. Today they can add one more. We had a chance to talk to Nebraska's latest commit and here is our Q&A with future Husker Will Compton.

Big Red Report: I hear congratulations are in order


Will Compton: Yeah, I am a Nebraska Cornhusker


BRR: First question and the most obvious: What made you pick the big red?


WC: The academics there are amazing. The academic all-Americans are way ahead of everyone else. Notre Dame is a far second. Notre Dame has 170-something and Nebraska has like 230-some. And then their fan base is just unbelievably awesome. They get crazy and hectic at times, but I just love them.


And then the coaches, most definitely Kevin Cosgrove, he's been the best so far. And when I got on the phone with Coach (Bill) Callahan, he was just really excited and he's just going to be great over the next few years. And recruiting-wise, I have spoke with everybody and I have had a good relationship with Blaine Gabbert, a really good relationship with him.


I did talk with Robert Steeples and Andrew Jones (Missouri commits) about playing with them, but I just felt Nebraska was the place for me. And, of course, their tradition and football facilities – you have to see it to believe it. I can't describe it in words how great it was.


BRR: I remember seeing you down at Kansas City and at that point Nebraska really hadn't starting recruiting you. This was around May I believe. But it seemed like not long after that they started going after you pretty good. How did that all materialize for you?


WC: Coach Cosgrove had seen some clips of me and I guess from that he liked what he saw and they actually wanted to get a highlight film of me. And I don't know what happened, whether it got lost in the mail or whatever, but he said that they loved my attitude so much, they just went ahead and offered me.


So, that's how it started and as the year went on, he just got on board (with his recruiting) and there was never a quiet time during the day.


BRR: Aside from so many of the really important things you are looking at such as academics, tradition, etc., I would imagine that how much a school is recruiting you and wants you means a lot. Was that a big deal for you when it came to Nebraska – just that kind of attention they were showing you?


WC: Several schools were like that. Coach Cosgrove would always tell me that I was number one, but I got that from a lot of other schools too. That's what made it really hard to tell these other coaches what I was going to do. Iowa particularly, I told them and they really didn't want me to do it. I actually haven't called Missouri yet. I told them through a text message and they want to talk to me about it with them, and I am sure I will get a lot of stuff from this, because Nebraska and Missouri are rivals.


But yeah, Nebraska has always let me know, especially Coach Cosgrove, that he wanted me to be one of his linebackers and he treats them all like sons.


BRR: It's been well-chronicled that Nebraska is losing four starting linebackers after this season. Was that a big attraction for you?


WC: Oh yeah, that was huge. When you look at Nebraska school-wise, they really pop out at you on the list. I mean, Nebraska along with other schools like Notre Dame and Michigan – those are the real eye-poppers. And then Alabama and Mizzou sometimes, but those three are ones that just pop out to you.


Then there are schools that you could have opportunities at that have been down for some time, where you could play at early like Illinois. They are on the rise, I know that, but I had that same opportunity at one of those eye-poppers like Nebraska. So, it's just really hard to pass that up.


BRR: What does it mean to come in with such a stellar group of fellow linebackers?


WC: I love it. I have had a good relationship with Doug Rippy. I haven't gotten to talk to the others, but I am sure I will. I know that I am the only one recruited as a "WILL." The rest are all being recruited at "SAM" or like with Rippy, the SAM or "MIKE."


BRR: Describe yourself as a linebacker


WC: What I bring best is my athleticism and speed - by far. Of course, if you are a Division 1 recruit, you better be, but I think I definitely have that. And I am a really good leader. I am always talking and I want everything to go perfect. But I think my athleticism is the big thing.


In high school I am more of an offensive threat than I am defensive. I just feel that and my 4.5/40 speed are just big for me. I played safety and even though we knew I'd be a linebacker in college, they just used me like that, because I could get all over the field.


That's what Brian Urlacher did in college. He was a safety. I mold myself after him, because he was real athletic and he brought back real speed to the linebacker position.


BRR: Just to illustrate your defensive mentality, what goes through your mind when you get a wide-open shot on a ball-carrier who doesn't see you coming?


WC: (laughing) What goes through your mind is that I'm about ready to make an eye-popping play – something that is like top 10 ESPN or something like that. Pretty much, that running back is about to get hurt.


BRR: This is the inevitable question and it stems from what is a known affection for Notre Dame. We had actually talked about that down at Kansas City, and it prompts the question as to just what would happen IF Notre Dame offered you now.


WC: I'm done. They held off (offering) for a really long time. Yeah, they were my dream school. That's where I wanted to go after I went to their camp last year. It was awesome and even now I know I will always be a fan of Notre Dame. But holding off that long, and feeling like you are a rebound player for them, and the guys they are looking at ahead of you, I don't think are clearly better than I am – I just kept losing interest in them. I don't see them getting into the picture at all.


BRR: Even before you committed to Nebraska, you seem to become an active recruiter for Nebraska. Like you kind of knew you were going to be a Husker, but you just hadn't hit the time where you thought it was right to announce.


WC: You hit the nail on the head. You got it right. It was just a matter of time before I convinced myself that it was going to be a done deal and I was going to officially say I was going to Nebraska. But every time I talked to recruits, I was already talking like I was a commit. It was just a matter of time before I pulled the trigger and got it done.


BRR: Now that you are officially a commit, there's going to be players you are going to go Blaine Gabbert on as far as drilling them about going to Nebraska, eh?


WC: Blaine doesn't have anything on me. He's admitted it himself that I have more numbers and I communicate more. People are talking about him being the recruiter of the year, but out of all the recruits who are being looked at by Nebraska, I honestly have talked to every one of them that is a big name. He says he can recruit, but he knows I am better than he is.


BRR: How can a human text that much?


WC: Oh my Gosh, I have to delete my box almost three times a day I bet.


BRR: OK, so who is the player or who are the players you have eyed as the ones you have to get to Nebraska?


WC: I've got to get Kenny Demens and Jonas Gray first. Then I am going to try and get Victor Johnson to come to his senses.


BRR: How many offers did you end up with?


WC: Over 20 I think


BRR: Describe your visit to Nebraska


WC: Unbelievable. First, you are driving down the road, you see the school in front of you, the flags waving and the five national titles, you are thinking that this is going to be sweet.


Then you walk in and you get that Nebraska waterfall going on, the weight room to the left, and you go up in the elevator and you then you go down the hall between all the coaches' rooms and see all those fan pictures, all that red and it's just unbelievable what's going on. Everything was just awesome.


BRR: It's still a long ways away, but think ahead to your first year at Nebraska. So many starters gone after this year, thinking ahead two years, what kind of goals do you have in mind, if any?


WC: Coming in with an early opportunity would be great. If I get in there early, people see me play, I get the experience and after all that, you just have to think big. You think big-time once that happens. You think of life after college. You think about the league. With an opportunity like this at a place like Nebraska, you have to think about those things, because the opportunity is right there. 


We'd like to thank Will for taking the time out of his day to do this interview with Big Red Report, and Compton becomes linebacker number five in what has to be one of the top groups at this position, around. He'll join junior college transfer Shaun Mohler and prep stars Sean Fisher, Eric Harper and Doug Rippy as members of the class of 2008. Will Kenny Demens eventually join this group and cement it as one of the best in the country? Stay tuned to Big Red Report to find out.



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